Max Verstappen warned that ‘a lot of things can go wrong’ this weekend at the new Miami Grand Prix.
The race is the first of the season in the United States, in a year which features two US races for the first time in a Formula One campaign.
On a street circuit that is unfamiliar to racers, the Red Bull driver and previous year’s champion, said that it might not be possible to repeat the success at Imola, where he won both the Grand Prix proper and the sprint race the preceding Saturday.
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“I think you always want to achieve a weekend like we had at Imola, but that’s not always the case,” he cautioned. “Let’s see what we can do here.
"We have a good car, and we can have a good result again, but on a new track a lot of things can go wrong or can go well.
“It’s of course trying to find out what works for you, get up to speed on a new track, find out what works for you with the tarmac and what goes from there, and try to do something similar as at Imola.
“I think the fast corners are cool, the straights are very long. We have the tight section of the track which is interesting as well.”
Verstappen's Red Bull Teammate Sergio Perez observed that there were dangers with the track, suggesting the surface is not the cleanest.
He said: “It will be interesting to see the grip level. The asphalt looks a bit different, some places looks like it’s already opening up. Other than that I think it’s going to be a great race.
“The circuit has really long straights so for racing it should be a good circuit. We should give a good, fun race to the fans.”
Seven-time champion and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, perhaps distracted by a spat over his jewellery, has endured a miserable start to the season, and did not appear any more confident that his car would improve despite work behind the scenes since the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix two weeks ago.
“You can expect that we’ll be giving it our all and trying our best,” he stated. “There’s been a huge amount of work in the background, everyone working as hard as we can.
“We’ve got a new rear wing, for example. So I’m just grateful for everyone keeping their head down and putting in amazing, hard work.”
As for any improved performance, he said: “I don’t anticipate much change in that sense.”
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, the early season leader, said he had put his accident at Imola to the back of his mind to focus on pushing hard for another victory.
"It's a mistake that cost some points," he said. "Instead of third, we finished sixth, which is never great especially in the position we are in this year.
"I just analysed what went wrong and I was just too optimistic, so I just have to turn the page now and focus on the future.
"This is the beginning of the season - we are always there. It's always extremely close with Red Bull. I don't know who will be on top this weekend, but for sure we will have a shot to win here if we do everything perfect."
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